Sunday, October 23, 2005

Things You Learn On The Night Bus

I took the night bus home from east London last night, which is something I rarely do, as I try to avoid east London. (I'm a London snob and I won't be ashamed of it. Hey, I'm moving to south London. There's only so much I can do.)

But anyway. I was on the 253 heading towards Camden, and for the majority of the journey, I was sitting beside these two girls. Now, this is past midnight on a Saturday night, so I'll leave it to your judgement to decide whether they were drunk or not. (Hint: they were.) Normally, I'm not such a nosy eavesdropper, but my book was boring, and they were far more entertaining.

In the lengthy journey back to where sensible people live, I learned an awful lot about these two girls. It started out fairly innocuously. Girl One (let's call her Angie) was talking about how she was worried about Girl Two's (and let's call her Trish) cold lingering for so long. Trish pointed out that such is the life someone who works with kids, and she'd probably get better on the half term break.

Then things took a turn. Apparently, Angie is constantly worried about pregnancy. She's currently worried that she may be pregnant, but she just had her period, so she won't be able to know if she's late for another month. That means that she's got a month of imagining that she's pregnant and stressing about it.

Trish pointed out that she could probably do something to prevent the possible pregnancies by practicing some form of birth control. Angie didn't seem to think this would work for her.

Angie then mentioned that she has spent the last two or three years in a constant state of worry about whether or not she was pregnant, and if she was, how she would find the £250 to take care of things, because she'd rather go on holiday.

(It's here I should mention that these were not supremely tacky teenagers with absolutely no sense, but seemingly normal looking girls in their mid to late twenties.)

Trish then horrified Angie by mentioning that if she got pregnant, she wouldn't consider it to be the worst thing in the world. Angie was disgusted and kept saying "but why?" in a mystified tone of voice. Trish pointed out that, unlike Angie and her current habit of sluttiness, she was in a relationship in which they planned on getting married and having children, and so it would just be a bit earlier than planned.

Angie was all "but, ew! You couldn't go on holiday if you had babies" or something stupid like that. She then said she wouldn't go on the pill, even though she had a prescription and had the pills at home, because it had affected Trish badly when she took it.

It was then that I began to feel badly for Trish, because she seemed like a rational and sensible girl, but she was afflicted by the tragedy of having a deeply, deeply stupid friend.

I had to physically restrain myself from leaning over to this girl and saying "Excuse me, but are you insane? You're admitttedly slutty, which is fine if it works for you, but you seem to live in some dream world in which hoping that you won't get pregnant is an effective form of birth control. And never mind pregnancy, what about all the other things that can happen when you practice unprotected sex? What about diseases? Is hope also an effective preventative measure for that? And who are these guys that are all okay with sleeping with you without protection? Do you lie to them, and tell them you're on the pill? You know what? Carry a condom in your bag. If you're old enough to have sex, (and you definitely are, as you're nearing thirty) you're old enough to have some sense. God, grow up."

Obviously, I said nothing, but I thought it very hard and I have some hope that my psychic ability sent some of the thoughts her way. I had to get off the bus before I heard the end of the conversation though.

I can imagine it going down the line of Angie being all "but if I am pregnant, a baby would be such a cute accessory!" Which is probably good that I missed, because I would have had to slap her then and I probably would have been kicked off the bus and it would have been a whole big thing.

1 comment:

Bette O'Callaghan said...

So have boys/men changed in the new millenium? Back in the day, they never asked, just assumed it was the girl's/women's responsibility to take care of the birth control. I so agree with you, when I worked with the single parents on the Aylesbury Estate (a fabulous place with cool people) I used to say that if I won the lottery, I would purchase and install huge neon billboards for the sides of all the buildings that would flash this message - BIRTH CONTROL